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Crohn's Disease Forum » Support Forum » Mental Health Support » How to Help Someone with Crohns and Depression


08-26-2013, 09:32 AM   #1
valeriemcdonough
 
Join Date: Aug 2013
Location: Charlotte, North Carolina
How to Help Someone with Crohns and Depression

A really good friend of mine was diagnosed with Crohn's last year. I went with her for her colonoscopy and learned the dreaded news. I hadn't had the opportunity to spend much time with her since - I lost my Mom, Dad moved in and my hands have been tied to spend time on really anything else. I saw my friend last evening and could only cry for her. She has lost a good amount of weight and is terribly depressed, very weak, and very meek.

The reason for my post is that I want to learn as much as I can about this dreaded disease, but even more so, what I need to do to help her.

Can you folks help me with this? Let me know your opinions for what you think is important to support her, physically, mentally and otherwise? I am new to this, but I can't stand by and watch her fall apart. How can I help her?

BTW, she is really in a bad way. She doesn't go outside anymore, doesn't drive, won't go to the grocery store, etc. She has children, so this is a big impact. Her husband is carrying the load.
08-26-2013, 11:06 AM   #2
jrtdogmom1
 
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Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: Salt lake city, Utah
Help with the household chores or shopping is appreciated. Listening and hugs are great. Staying close. Join a yoga or Tai Chi class together.
08-26-2013, 11:35 AM   #3
valeriemcdonough
 
Join Date: Aug 2013
Location: Charlotte, North Carolina
Thank you for this. I am really out of sorts on this.
How about emotional support? Is there anything I can be doing (besides listening, hugs, etc)?
08-26-2013, 04:08 PM   #4
jrtdogmom1
 
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Location: Salt lake city, Utah
Being there is emotional support, be sure to support yourself as well, sounds like you also have stressful things to cope with.
08-27-2013, 08:23 AM   #5
JMA
 
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Join Date: Aug 2013
Location: St Petersburg
See if she is interested in learning transcendental meditation. It will help her to clear her mind of the problems she is now facing and have a better outlook. Also, try to not act as though her disease defines her. Her life has to be about more than Crohns going forward. A positive outlook will help her to see that life will continue although altered from what she knew in the past.
08-27-2013, 09:50 AM   #6
copeland
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Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Asheville, North Carolina

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I know that for me, when I'm feeling pretty sick with Crohn's it's helpful when someone will go out of their way to come hang out at my house, instead of wanting to go out.

Emotional support is very important and kind of hard to find. It's probably hard for your friend to remember that she's still the same person, and that the disease is not her entire life now. There's a good chance she will respond to medication and be feeling better in the future, at least some of the time.

Some of the things that are particularly difficult with Crohn's (as opposed to something more acute like cancer) are that it never really goes away and that it's mostly involved with activities and parts of the body that are very private for most people. your friend may not want to talk about everything right away.

Finally, I've shared this with several people here; I've found it very useful and you might want to read it to get an idea of what your friend is going through. You might want to share it with her eventually, too - http://www.alpineguild.com/COPING%20...20ILLNESS.html

-Dan
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27 years old, Crohn's since I was 16 or 17.
08-27-2013, 01:10 PM   #7
valeriemcdonough
 
Join Date: Aug 2013
Location: Charlotte, North Carolina
Thanks so much for your information and link to understanding the emotions of chronic illness.
I'd really like to make a difference and help her to cope.
I am hoping that she will help me to understand what she is feeling.
Frankly, what's been going on in my life gives me a great excuse to focus on something good.
08-27-2013, 01:58 PM   #8
CrohnsChicago
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Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Chicago, Illinois

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I know when I was sick I needed an ear / someone to vent to, to cry to, and someone who I felt was really listening to what I had to say even if they didn't fully understand what I was going through.

Some help with household chores and medication runs and someone to take me to the doctor or even hold my hand in the waiting room would have been nice to since Crohn's is mentally and physically and emotionally exhausting mid-flare.

Someone to laugh with me /make me laugh and encourage me to get up and try here and there, but not push me too hard if I felt like I just couldn't do it that day. If I'm not at work, I'm holed up in the house sick. I live alone so it get's very lonely and gives me plenty of time to dwell on my illness.
__________________
Crohn's-Colitis May 2012
Current Meds:
6-MP (100mg) / Asacol (4800mg)
Past Meds:
Prednisone/ Entocort / Flagyl
Current Supplements:
B12 Shot (1cc/mo) / Multivitamin / Vitamin D (1000iu) / Calcium (1200mg) / Omega 3 Fish Oil (4800mg)
Additional Info:
Anemia/Borderline Anemia - whole life
Generalized Anxiety Disorder - 2009 (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, mindfulness meditation)

08-27-2013, 03:03 PM   #9
Moogle33
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Join Date: Aug 2013
Location: Savannah, GA

My Support Groups:
There is a nonprofit organization called NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness). They have helped me tremendously helping me cope with depression by support groups and educational classes. They have local chapters around the country.

Here is their website. www.nami.org

Hope that helps!
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